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1999 Closed threads from 1999 (read only)

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Old 26 December 1999, 12:45 PM   #1
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Join Date: Sep 1998
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I recall someone asking about “Cobber” Kain in a thread some months back. I received for Christmas, “Fighter Squadrons” by Noel Monks, published by Angus and Robertson in 1941. Monks was an Australian-born journalist for the Daily Mail. From memory, he later reported widely on 452 RAAF. The book is an account of of squadrons 1 and 73 RAF in France in 1939. Released in 1941 and heavily influenced by propaganda requirements, it is interesting because it is written contemporaneously but is difficult to read because of the obvious bias and embarrassing, if understandable, jingoism. The book is recorded as dedicated to Cobber Kain. I does give detail of him so if the enquirer of some months back wishes more information, please let me know (I’m away until New Year so would not respond until then).

Of interest in the Von Richthofen debate is the following from page 11 of the book.

“In coolness and skill any one of those boys would have made Richtohfen, Red Knight of Germany, look like a clay idol. He would have made a poor show in this war, not being able to sit up in the clouds, as he did in the past, and pick off lame ducks as they staggered out of a dogfight. Things happen too quickly for that sort of warfare to-day”

Make of that what you will.


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Old 26 December 1999, 08:26 PM   #2
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Edgar "Cobber" Kain was a New Zealander serving in the RAF, in 73 Sqn, in France 1939-1940. He was the first notable Ace of the RAF in the war, but died in an accident June 1940.
73 had a "split-arse" reputation--its wing-mate, 1 Sqn., was a little more regular and by-the-book.
Old 30 December 1999, 06:20 PM   #3
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Happy New Year Vin: 1. Did Monks ever name any of those RAF flyboys who would have made a clay idol of MvR, and did he list their victory records? 2. In all of WWII was there ever an RAF ace who downed more than 80 aircraft, and did Monks list who they were? 3. It seems obvious that Monks is making statements unsupported by any evidence to support his assertions; and they reflect the propaganda of the times and the censors razor. 4. The 'lame duck' analogy works both ways, if one considers that the Allies had (from mid-1916 to April 1918) aircraft that were superior in design and numbers to the Albatros, the DRI, etc until the Fokker DVII put them to the test: so it could be said that MvR was a 'lame duck' flying an obsolete triplane, who shot down-not only other 'lame ducks-but equally brave pilots in superior ships-until his luck ran out. 5. I keep hopeing that someone will make a study of the substandard pilots, and what were the traits that caused them to be non-aces: And I am not talking about cowards but reasonbaly brave men who did not conform to spec. Kindest regards from Billy H/12/30/99.
Old 1 January 2000, 05:43 PM   #4
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Please tell an unwashed one what a Cobber is?

I read a book today that claimed the two leading aces in the Battle of Britain were a Pole and A Czech.

MvR has probably been overated, however his record of 80 still seems to hold up. There were aces in other countries who were overrated as a deliberate propaganda effort to raise the morale of the home folks.

The number of German losses versus British claims in both WWI and WWII make me wonder who the real clay idols were?
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Old 2 January 2000, 01:46 AM   #5
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G'day Leo,

Cobber in Australia is another term for mate, or friend.

It also is a lovely chocolate coated caramel lolly (sweet)that back in the early 70's you could get 2 for 1 cent, but alais these days they are half their size and 10 times as much to purchase.

Your Cobber
Thats dinkum mate.
Old 2 January 2000, 07:03 AM   #6
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>I read a book today that claimed the two
>leading aces in the Battle of Britain were a
>Pole and A Czech.

The Battle of Britain was another good example of Britains ability to marshall forces in their defence. I think of the top scoring pilots who shot down more than ten aircraft in the engagement only a couple were actually English. The rest were either from the displaced nations such as Czechoslavakia, Poland, etc and the Commonwealth nations. The top scoring Australian was Pat Hughes with 14 Des and 3 Shared. He died though in early September during the Battle Of Britain. It isnbt surprising that the pilots that had already seen combat sorced quickly, most of the RAF pilots were pretty new to combat.

A good book on the Battle of Britain is by a Candaian bloke ( forgotten his name ) called "One of the Few". He ended up commanding the RAF's polish wing, all numbered 303 Sqn, 304 etc. One of the funny stories was, at a Navigation lecture he stood up and told the lecturer he was wrong on some point, saying it would never work in combat. The lecturer asked him how he tells his Wing to navigate home. The Candian bloke replied. " I tell them to fly the course of their squadron number". At which everyone laughed roflmgo. A course of low 300's would bring the polish pilots straight across the channel to England though.

That was one of my fave books when I was younger, it is to my shame I cant remember his name. Can picture him too.



cobber, cain

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